Reference is made to the circular distributed in all States Schools on 8th October announcing the blanket ban of earrings and similar piercing accessories.
The timing of the decision, a few days after the mother of a boy in a Gozitan School claimed her son was not allowed to go to school with a stud earrings, as well as the fact that this issue was never raised in any meeting MAPSSS had with Ministry officials over the past years – makes it obvious that the “health and safety reasons” mentioned are just a smokescreen to justify this hasty and absurd decision.
Furthermore, the new uniform policy announced by the Ministry of Education in June, makes no mention to earrings.
MAPSSS brings to the attention of the Directorate of Educational Services that the precipitousness of this decision has caused distress in a number of primary students as their parents/legal guardians were not given the time needed to explain the new directive to them. Furthermore, the suddenness of the decision has caused an issue to parents who had just pierced their child’s ears and who were asked specifically not to remove the said earrings for a number of weeks, to minimise the risk of infection and to avoid the closure of any recently-done piercing.
MAPSSS notes that the constant removal and placing of the earring increases the chances of infection, definitely defeating the purpose of “health reasons” mentioned in the directive issued by DG Educational Services.
MAPSSS also notes that in various health and safety policies of schools abroad, the use of retainers – flat studs that retain the piercing when earrings are removed – is becoming more common as a form of acceptable substitution with no health and safety risk.
MAPSSS urges the Directorate for Educational Services to revoke its rushed decision and allow children to wear flat studs (retainers) which are considered a safe alternative to earrings.
MAPSSS reiterates that education and communication are key to involving the pupils in safe practice. A proactive approach will ensure piercings form part of a readily available school policy on personal effects, including jewelry. Clearly understood protocols will ensure students and parents are aware of school expectations.
Finally, MAPSSS encourages the Directorate for Educational Services to address immediately the real health and safety issues, including, but not limited to, cases were classrooms do not meet the national minimum conditions for all schools regulations (subsidiary legislation 327.12); as well as situations where school transport drivers are not respecting existing legislation such as mandatory use of seat belts and the prohibition of the use of mobile phones whilst driving.